I discussed Arby’s major folly earlier on this blog, and I figured I owed it to them to review a sandwich which better displays their talent at crafting meals.  Arby’s is famous for their roast beef sandwiches, which as their motto states, are “delicious”, but I wanted to review something people may not have tried yet.  In addition to their classic menu, Arby’s serves Market Fresh sandwiches, which are deli style sandwiches, and Toasted Subs, which are made on a sub roll and toasted (obviously).

The Toasted Sub line.  The Philly Beef is the one on the lower right.

The Toasted Sub line. The Philly Beef is the one on the lower right.

 The sub I tried, the Philly Beef, is inspired by a favorite of mine, the Philly Cheesesteak.  It consists of Arby’s roast beef, Swiss (I think) cheese, red and green peppers, and mayo on a sub-type roll.  The roast beef is the same as any other Arby’s roast beef, which means it’s tasty and served in a good sized portion.  The cheese is decent, if unremarkable.  The peppers, which had been cooked, were soft, and while understated, added quite a bit to the sandwich, as did the addition of mayo.  The roll was a bit of a mouthful and seemed somewhat artificial, at least compared to the bread of Jimmy John’s or Subway, but didn’t really hurt the sandwich overall.  It was great, a nice change of pace from the usual fast food choices.  A small Toasted Sub combo is $5.79, which is slightly more expensive then the average meal but not ridiculously so.  I sprung for a medium, which with tax came to the ominous sum of $6.66.  All things considered, I would definitely recommend this sandwich, it shows Arby’s usual quality and variety quite well.

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This summer is winding down, but it’s also presented me with an interesting opportunity.  Both McDonald’s and Burger King are currently running Mushroom and Swiss cheeseburger specialty sandwiches.  To make sure you’re getting the best Mushroom and Swiss burger possible, I’ve put together a review of both.

Pretty much tells you everything you need to know.

Pretty much tells you everything you need to know.

Let’s begin with the burger I had first, Burger King’s Mushroom and Swiss Steakhouse Burger.  This burger is enormous.  It stretches beyond the bun on all sides.  The patty itself is decent, nothing to complain about but nothing too noteworthy about it either.  The Swiss cheese was fine, as were the mushrooms, although the mushrooms were a little stronger than I’d expected.  The burger also included those crispy onions which seem to be all the rage right now.  The major flaw in this burger, and the reason I wouldn’t get it again, is the sauce.  The sandwich includes some kind of steak sauce, presumably because it’s a Steakhouse Burger.  Granted, I’m not a big fan of steak sauce in general, but the sauce on this burger clashes horribly with every other element.  The burger alone cost $4.49.  Overall, I don’t think this sandwich is worth buying, especially not at that price.

...And the competition.

The McDonald’s Mushroom and Swiss Angus Third Pounder is an improvement in pretty much every way.  The patty is more flavorful.  There are two slices of Swiss.  While large, the burger is far more manageable.  But the main improvement over Burger King’s is the inclusion of mayo as opposed to steak sauce.  The mayo is understated, and works with everything else rather than clashing.  This is just a better burger.  It’s also cheaper, at $3.99 a sandwich.  Unless you’re unnaturally fond of steak sauce and don’t mind paying extra for it, McDonald’s is the clear winner.  Better luck next time, Burger King!!

P.S.  This seems like as good a time as any to address this.  “Angus” refers to a couple different breeds of cattle.  “Angus Beef” is beef which comes from these cattle.  Whether on not it tastes better or worse than beef from any other kind of cattle is entirely a matter of personal opinion.  This whole “Angus Beef=Premium Beef” idea, the idea that Angus Beef refers to a higher class or standard in beef quality, was cooked up by the beef and fast food industries.  If you want to buy a more expensive burger because you want a larger portion or you like the ingredients, go for it.  But please, don’t shell out more money because companies tell you their beef is better, because generally it isn’t.

Vacation Notice

August 6, 2009

Starting today I’m going to be out of town with limited computer access, as I’m going on an annual family trip.  I hope to update at least once on my vacation, but probably not much more than that.  I’ll return to regularly scheduled Sandwichtalk around August 16th.